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Microsoft’s Attempt to Deliver PBX Killer More Credible with Lync

| November 18, 2010 | Unified Communications and Contact Center
| Analysts: Brian Riggs, Research Director, Unified Communications;
  Ken Landoline, Principal Analyst, Unified Communications

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When Microsoft entered the unified communications (UC) market in 2005, the company talked more than listened. With the launch of Live Communications Server 2005 – and two years later with the launch of Office Communications Server (OCS) 2007 – Microsoft told customers and resellers what they did and did not need when it came to solutions for business communications. What they needed was a software-centric platform running on industry standard server hardware and tightly integrated with Microsoft’s various business applications. What they didn’t need is IP phones, a full list of PBX features and monolithic PBX hardware.

With this week’s launch of Lync, the third generation of Microsoft’s UC software and the successor of OCS, it is clear that Microsoft is now listening at lot more. It is listening to customers’ demands for basic PBX features such as call park, as well as call admission control. It is listening to enterprises unwilling to swap out traditional PBXs with OCS without branch office survivability and other high-availability functionality. It is listening to businesses unwilling to kluge together an emergency service solution when E911 should be natively supported in any platform that is seriously presented as a PBX replacement.

Lync illustrates a real effort on Microsoft’s part to respond to customer needs for a robust enterprise and SMB UC product and vastly improves Microsoft’s ability to market its UC offering as a legitimate PBX replacement. Plenty of challenges still remain as Microsoft continues its charge into the field of business communications under the flag of Lync. But with the company now listening and responding to customer needs Microsoft will achieve greater success compared to when it tried to dictate terms.


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